Posted on Jun 19, 2012, 6 a.m.
The ancient art of acupuncture could be of benefit to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Results of a small clinical trial suggest that regular acupuncture could be of great benefit to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Masao Suzuki, L.Ac., Ph.D., of Kyoto University and Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 68 patients diagnosed with COPD. Half (n=34) of participants were assigned to a real acupuncture group for 12-weeks, plus daily medication, while the other half (n=34) were assigned to a placebo acupuncture group in which the needles were blunt and appeared to, but did not enter the skin. Participants had to participate in a 6-minute walk test on a Borg scale where 0 meant "breathing very well, barely breathless" and 10 signified "severely breathless" at the start and end of the study. After 12-weeks of treatment the Borg scale score after the 6-minute walk test improved from 5.5 to 1.9 in the real acupuncture group, however no improvement was seen in the Borg scale score in the placebo acupuncture group before and after treatment (4.2 and 4.6, respectively). The authors concluded: "Randomized trials with larger sample sizes and longer-term interventions with follow-up evaluations are necessary to confirm the usefulness of acupuncture in COPD treatment."
George T Lewith, Mike Thomas. "Reevaluating acupuncture research methods." Arch Intern Med. Published ahead of print May 14, 2012. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1674